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2006 August

so you are jonesin’ for some crack

August 22, 2006

Wow, you people are crazy about dip. I got an untold number of emails yesterday requesting the recipe. Frankly I am embarrassed to share it because it is so easy to make. Also because now I will get an untold number of emails telling me that this recipe SUX!!1! and that there is a much better one out there and people will feel compelled to share it with me.

Please don’t.

Also, completely unrelated, if you do not like something I write there is a small red X up there in the right hand corner, click it. I do not need you to email me and tell me that I should change the way I write or you will no longer read my blog. Because, I hate to say it, I don’t care. I feel like I should write a string of expletives here to make my point, but really it is just uncalled for in this paragraph. Swear words have a proper place and time to be used. Maybe fucking later. See, not right there.

The other reason I hesitate to share the recipe is because I don’t really measure anything. But here is the recipe.

2 blocks of cream cheese

3 cans of vegetarian refried beans (why vegetarian, I have no idea other than that is what I always buy. One last hold over from when I was a vegetarian and felt a smug superiority buying vegetarian beans, because no one is sneaking pig feet into my beans!)

2 jars of salsa

2 packages of taco seasoning mix
2.5-3 lbs of ground meat (turkey, chicken or beef will do)

Brown the ground meat in a pan. Add the taco seasoning mix and cook according the instructions, which I think is universally add water and the contents of the packets and cook some more.

Take out a large pyrex baking dish. Mine is bigger than a 9×13…11×14? I don’t know. Are these things standard size? Do you see why I don’t give out recipes?

Spread the two blocks of cream cheese on the bottom of the baking dish.

Then spread the cans of refried beans.

Then pour the jars of salsa on top.

Then pour the browned and seasoned meat mixture on top. And sort of mix it around with the salsa a bit.

Then sprinkle the cheese of top.

Put into the oven… oh maybe 350 for like 20 minutes or so. Until it is hot and the edges are bubbly.

Then take it out and eat it with the LIME flavored Tositos, which are like crack by themselves. I can not eat enough of those chips.

This recipe serves 1-10 people depending on how piggish you are. And piggish you will be. This shit is fucking good.


Posted by Chris @ 9:31 am | 80 Comments  

turns out I do have something to write about

August 21, 2006

I have somevery helpful time and aggravation saving advice.

Posted by Chris @ 1:42 pm | 4 Comments  

When bloggers meet

Last week two of my most favorite bloggers Darren and Nabbalicious came for a visit. We had planned the visit for awhile and I was really excited, until I realized that Rob was not going to be here because I had gotten the dates wrong. Then I had something of a freak out panic attack, because Rob is the host in our coupledom. He is the one who makes people feel welcome, gives them drinks, serves them food, and basically makes them feel at home.

I am not sure what my job is exactly, but I do know it involves pointing to my glass and making witty conversation. I had told them long before the visit that I was sure they would leave here liking Rob best, it would be inevitable. And that I was okay with it and they shouldn’t feel guilty.

But turns out I had to entertain them all on my own. Single people who do not have children. yes, should I write that again. They do not have any children and they were coming here to stay the night. talk about brave. Especially after what I wrote when halloweenlover came for a visit.

They were pretty much shell shocked by the crowd of children, which swarmed them as soon as they walked in the front door, like moths to the light. For a few minutes I thought if I turned my back that they would try to make a break for it, get into their rental car, and drive away as fast as they could manage.

But it turned out to be a fun visit. I had a great time. I hope they come back and visit soon.

If you want to read Darren’s perspective of what it was like to visit The Big Yellow House, his post and photos are here.

And now I see nabbalicious has written about her visit her as well, and included what is possibly the best photo of me EVER taken. I must have missed the memo that today was vacation recap day. But it is good, because I had nothing to write about today anyway. Unless you wanted to hear about how I refinished a clawfoot tub this weekend, which yeah, I didn’t think so.

Posted by Chris @ 9:46 am | 26 Comments  

D-O-N-E spells never again

August 20, 2006

Today I went to visit my niece who just gave birth to her first baby. A girl.

I always wondered when I would know I was done having children. For a long time I thought that the feeling would never pass that I would just always think that I should have just. one. more.

But then I had my seventh and thought, this is good. THIS is all I can handle. Seven has always seemed like a lucky number. I like to joke that I have a kid for every day of the week. If only I could get the other six to stay put in the closet when it isn’t their day, it would be perfect.

Today I held this beautiful baby. I stroked her soft little cheeks and hands. Admired her paper thin skin. I inhaled her fabulous brand new smell. I marveled that my babies, any of them, were ever that small. How is it even possible?

But even as I looked at her, I didn’t want one. I felt none of that tugging on my heart strings, nor did I have the desire to hold her up and say, “Oh, Rooooob. Loooooook at the baaaaaaaby.”

In fact I so much did NOT want one that my uterus felt compelled to expel it’s contents five days ahead of schedule. That is how much I don’t want another one.

I handed the baby back to her mother. I said my good-byes and left. Happily left. I may have even skipped out the front door, I can’t be certain.

I got into my car and thought of my husband at home with the children, all of whom are old enough to be away from me now for extended periods of time. I thought of how much happier I am to have that tiny bit of freedom, though there are some days that it is a double edged sword. And I kind of feel like a bird that has escaped and flown free and now is fighting against the people trying to stuff it back into the cage.

That analogy might sound a bit more melodramatic and depressing than the reality is, but that is the gist of it.

And so I drove away happy.

Happy most of all that I never have to be a first time mother ever again.

Posted by Chris @ 9:25 pm | 44 Comments  

Camping in the backyard

August 19, 2006

Roasting hotdogs

Tonight Rob and the boys are camping out in the backyard. He built a huge fire in our koi pond turned fire pit and roasted hot dogs for dinner with them. Yes, our house a had a man made coy pond in the back yard that we promptly drained and now use it to have bonfires. Because honestly, aren’t bonfires much more fun than watching little fish swim around?

Cooking hotdogs

And then we all roasted marshmallows and made smores.

s'more fixin's

And then I retreated back into my bug free and comfortable house. Why sleep on the cold hard ground reeking of smoke when there is a comfortable bed and shower mere steps away?

And so my tenure as the fun parent has come to a screeching close. As it should be.

I should just embrace the fact that my lot in life is to make sure that all the rules are followed and that no one has too much fun.

And if it means I get to sleep in my climate controlled house without the risk of bugs crawling on me or racoons opening up my tent, I am fine with it.

Posted by Chris @ 8:59 pm | 28 Comments  

he wants to know if they will ever stop talking

August 18, 2006

Rob is home from his lengthy vacation of fishing, camping, and sleeping in disgusting negative star motels in the wilds of Wyoming and Montana. A vacation which sounds like a trip to Hell to me. Seriously.

He arrived home last night at about midnight. Shortly afterward we got into bed. And not too long after that (but long enough if you get my my drift ::wink wink::) we were joined by our 3 and 1 yr olds. As we lay together in the bed, trying to get comfortable with toddler arms across our faces, protecting our soft mid-sections from their spastic legs, I thought it is good to have him home.

At 8:45 this morning he was mopping the kitchen floor. And what did I do while he was mopping? I worked on my laptop, shushed him and pointed to my empty coffee cup, which he promptly filled for me.

Yes, it’s good to have him home.

Posted by Chris @ 9:38 am | 25 Comments  

the things we don’t write about

August 17, 2006

My son is difficult. At least that is what the doctor says. I know different. I know that on that magical 7th birthday he too will have letters strung out behind his name and fastpass at the pharmacy.

My son is difficult. Unless you have one, you can not fully grasp what this means. If you are feeling judgmental, step back and consider yourself lucky because you don’t know. When people tell me how wrong it is to medicate a child and how I am stifling the natural boy energy and I should just do whatever it is that they think I should do… I smile and nod and wish I could join them up there on that high horse. Really, a sticker chart for him is all I need to do?

Holy crap, don’t let the pharmeceutical companies find out. This could ruin them. Hey, I have an idea maybe we could do sticker charts for diabetics, asthmatics, and those with PPD too.

My son is difficult. I have heard that if I only had one child people would say, “You don’t know what children are really like. If you had more children you would realize that this was normal. You are too focused on him”

Because I have more children, I hear, “Well, of course he is acting out. You can’t possibly be giving him enough attention.”

Only people with two children are allowed to have difficult children through no fault of their own.

My son is difficult. He emerged from my body pissed off at the world and it hasn’t stopped. It’s the colic that just won’t end. I don’t feel like I am the cause of my pathologically happy-go-lucky 7 year old, but yet I mentally castigate myself for this child.

My son is difficult. There are times that I lose my patience with the other children. The innocent bystanders who suddenly become casualties in this battle. A request from one of them in a tone of voice that I would usually shrug off, can suddenly be met with my anger. I find myself apologizing more that I wish I had to.

My son is difficult. Often he has a huge meltdown and then recovers. The rest of us left behind in the wake. Unsettled, our energy spent. And he looks at us confused, unable to grasp that his actions have caused this.

My son is difficult. Many times I have greast plans to go somewhere, but in the time from when he wakes up in the morning until breakfast is served, I realize that I don’t have the mental fortitude for it. And so we don’t go do the “fun” thing, because I realize that it would not be fun. We will stay home. It’s easier to walk on eggshells in a controlled environment.

My son is difficult. This morning he asked for new batteries for his CD player. I don’t have any AA batteries on hand, but told him we could buy some when we go to the store. He can not accept that answer. He screams and yells and carries on. He can not let it go. For hours I have to hear about the batteries. He goes through drawers, he gets out a screw driver and tries to take the batteries out of his brother’s toothbrush. I ask him to put his brother’s toothbrush down and he refuses. When I get up to take it away, he throws it at me.

A few minutes later he has moved on to something else. But I still feel tense.

My son is difficult. I tell him to go to time out and calm down. He refuses to go. He crosses his arms and stomps his feet. He looks at me with such defiance. Rob and I joke that he would be the model prisoner of war. You could never break him. You could never force him to do anything he didn’t want to do. I want to break him. I want to make him obey. I hate that about myself. I never wanted to be a dictator.

My son is difficult. He embarasses me because I feel like I am not a good parent. People wonder why I don’t get him under control. I wonder why I can not get him under control. There are times when I yell too harshly or grab him too roughly and I have to remind myself that he can’t help his behavior. But what is my excuse?

My son is difficult. I have an older son who used to be just as difficult. He no longer is. That is what keeps me going on the worst days. I know that there is help for him eventually. I know with maturity things will improve. I know with medication, things will improve. I am willing to stand up and accept the stigma of being one of those parents who embraces medication. Because there is a stigma. And other parents feel smugly superior for their parenting skills.

My son is difficult.

Posted by Chris @ 8:22 am | 136 Comments  

The final Disney World installment

August 16, 2006

This series took me longer to write than our actually trip to Disney, by the way.

Part Four: Wrapping it up

Part Three: Eleven Random Hints and Tips

Part Two: Stopping the Gimmees

Part One: Disney On a Family Budget

Posted by Chris @ 9:28 am | 1 Comment  

And I probably did use my visa card

August 15, 2006

Binoculars purchased for son’s 9th birthday: $150

House with large open yard perfect for star gazing: more than sane people would spend

Four Old Navy sweatshirts for me and my three oldest sons, worn on top of our pajamas: $25 a piece

Watching the Perseids meteor shower in the middle of the night, laying on our backs in the wet grass: priceless

There are some things money can’t buy. Finally getting to be the fun parent is one of them.

Posted by Chris @ 9:17 pm | 22 Comments  

i’ll savor this moment forever, and this one, and this one…

The beauty of the digital age is that we can document every moment of our children’s lives.


Every mundane event or non-event in our children’s lives is documented and preserved for all time. When I look back on the photographs from my childhood, they are all mostly staged. Either grainy with the colors fading into a dark panelled, orange and avocado green world, or completely washed out from the overexposed flash. The kind that sat on top of the camera and turned around after every click.

Pictures were more thoughtfully taken then.

Certainly even the most photographic mother of the bunch thirty years ago would not take 500 pictures of her kids at the playground in one afternoon, like I routinely do. She couldn’t instantly purge the ones that weren’t good. She wouldn’t know for two weeks when her film came back to her at the local pharmacy if any of the pictures had even come out.

How much would it have sucked to get them back and discover that the lens cap was on the whole time, or that they blinked in each and every picture. And then you grow up and wonder if Christmas of 1975 found you temporarily blind, or sleeping the day away.

I know there is not one photograph of me at any doctor’s office waiting room.

In the waiting room

Or sitting inside the office reading a book while I patiently waited for the doctor’s arrival.

Reading a book

My little marked up arm:

The arm of pokes

Or my love of stickers, with which I would paper the front of my shirt:

Foraging for stickers

Or a photograph of the gas pump to document the price of gasoline.

Hopefully, 35 years from now my children can understand my fury and understand why I would shout, “What the fuck?!?” everytime we pull up to a gas pump. They would finally understand why gas pumps stir such feelings of inappropriate anger and provoke the desire to shout expletives, within themselves. This photograph could very well serve as an ah-ha moment for them.



Dr: Well, based on these tests he isn’t allergic to anything.

Me: Hmmmm, well what does that mean?

Dr: Blah blah blah, maybe allergic to other things, blah blah blah most likely environmental blah blah blah*

Me: Like what kind of environmental allergies are you talking about?

Dr: Dust mites are the most likely culprit. I want you to try x, y, z, stand on your head and spin around five times in a counterclockwise direction and then come back and see me when Miles turns 2 years old. We will test for environmental things then if it isn’t under control. But most likely you will have to work on managing the dust in your home.

Me: Hahahaha

Dr: blink blink

Me: Seriously? Did my husband call you?

Dr: Ha ha. uh no.

Me: Can you write a prescription for a cleaning lady?

And so we have no more answers than before we went into his office this morning. Well, I guess technically we DO have answers, they just didn’t give me the answers I was hoping for. Like why the heck my poor child is a hive covered itchy mess.

Miles came right home and ate a Fluff and peanut butter sandwich on Wonder bread, with a side dish of tortellini salad in celebration of his non allergic status. His request, of course. An I obliged because so great was his disappointment over not be able to wear one of those allergy alert bracelets.

* (I believe those are in fact the exact technical terms he used)

Posted by Chris @ 12:26 pm | 35 Comments